Neoadjuvant Immunotherapy in Resectable Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. A Narrative Review

Life (Basel). 2021 Oct 1;11(10):1036. doi: 10.3390/life11101036.


Lung cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors and it is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. For early-stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), surgical resection is the treatment of choice, but the 5-year survival is still unsatisfying, ranging from 60% to 36% depending on the disease stage. Multimodality treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy did not lead to clinically relevant results, improving survival rates by only 5%. Recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are being studied as neoadjuvant treatment for resectable NSCLC too, after the satisfactory results obtained in stage IV disease. Several clinical trials are evaluating the safety and feasibility of neoadjuvant immunotherapy and their early findings suggest that ICIs could be better tolerated than standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy and more effective in reducing cancer local recurrence and metastasis. The aim of this review is to retrace the most relevant results of the completed and the ongoing clinical trials, in terms of efficacy and safety, but also to face the open challenges regarding ICIs in neoadjuvant setting for resectable NSCLC.

Keywords: immune checkpoint inhibitors; neoadjuvant immunotherapy; resectable NSCLC.

Publication types

  • Review